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Write about what makes you uncomfortable - An interview with Laurie Stark

Laurie Stark's competition winning screenplay 'Running From, Running To' was originally written for a script lab assignment: to write 10 pages about something that makes you uncomfortable.

The story is about a young woman who believes that she must confront a man from her past before she can commit to a relationship.

"I feel very uncomfortable writing about violence, sex, or my sexuality, so this script was a cornucopia of things that made me uncomfortable!" - Laurie Stark

'Running From, Running To' won Sunday Shorts Script Competition for having great characters, and the perfect premise for a short film that leaves you wanting more. We spoke to Laurie about her script to learn about her process and what it takes to write such an honest piece.

"When actors read the script out loud in class, I wanted to hide under my chair, but zeroing in on those uncomfortable topics helped me dig deeper emotionally.

Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)

I’ve dated women and men, and I spent a lot of years in unnecessary turmoil over whether I was 'really' gay or queer or bisexual or whatever term made sense at the moment. So I wanted to write about that, while also writing about power dynamics and memory and how sometimes things become a huge issue in our minds when they’re really very simple. (That was actually probably too many themes to explore in 11 pages.)

There’s one line in the script that’s particularly controversial. I’ve had probably 25 people read the script (including my whole writers’ group and my entire screenwriting class) and nearly everyone mentions this line in their feedback. It’s the line when Amy says to her girlfriend Tara during a fight (referring to Tara): “I will never understand straight people.” It’s the cruelest thing Amy could say to Tara but she’s saying it out of fear and self-protection. For me, it’s probably the most important line in the script.

I found Sunday Shorts through FilmFreeway and I loved that the contest was focused on short films, since so many competitions treat shorts as an afterthought. The feedback was so detailed and helpful, I was really impressed. Especially for such a short script! I’ve received feedback from one or two other contests and they usually sound like the person didn’t read the script very closely, but this feedback was incredibly clear and thoughtful.

I’m not sure what my ultimate goal is for this project. If someone wanted to make this script into a short film, I would be super down for that, but it’s also okay with me if writing it was just another step on my journey."

Laurie Stark is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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